Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Secret

Yes, I know I'm years behind the rest of the world on this.

I was given a copy of the book The Secret a couple of years ago. I had a quick flick through it and realised that it was just the Law of Attraction, as promoted by Oprah Winfrey, Noel Edmonds and many others, packaged up in a glossy pseudo-historic manner to attempt to appeal to fans of The Da Vinci Code. Unconvinced, I put the book away, but for some obscure reason I picked it up again last weekend and read a bit more.

I have no problem with most of The Law of Attraction. It encourages positive thinking, which is a good thing and the foundation of CBT, which is scientifically proven to work. On the whole The Law of Attraction is harmless and little different to the traditional use of prayer, though I am still not convinced that just asking the Universe for something will bring it, unless you put in some personal effort too. After all, the Universe is not going to get my novel published unless I finish writing it first, is it?

The part of The Secret that I really didn't like, however, was the premise that if something bad happens, it does so because you have been thinking about it and negative thoughts attract negative occurences. Now to me that is psychologically dangerous...the truth is that in life bad things often happen to good people for no reason at all, not because they have thought or done anything to attract them. For that reason I do have my doubts about the whole package.


Last night Hubby, out of the blue, commented that we hadn't heard from a friend for a very long time. The husband of my old university friend who died of cancer, we care very much about him and his daughters. Remembering that he had sent a new email address and not sure if I had saved it properly, I said I would have a look today and if I couldn't find it I would post a letter to him instead.

This morning I opened our inbox to find an email from that very same friend, apologising for not being in touch for so long.

A coincidence, or the Law of Attraction in action?


Beth said...

That part, about negative thinking attracting negative occurrences, really upset a friend of mine. And I said to her, did she really believe that everyone who was affected in those floods had simultaneously thought really negatively and brought it on themselves? Because I don't. (that was topical at the time we had that conversation)

i like positive thinking. but i don't like victim-blaming, and that's what that book does. to me at least.

CL Taylor said...

Hmmm yes, your thoughts on that book pretty much mirror mine. I do think that there's something to the power of positive thinking but only in the way it changes the way you present yourself to the world. It's like going on a date feeling good about yourself - you give off positive vibes that are attractive to another person. Go on a date feeling bad about yourself and the other person picks up on your negative energy, your bad body language, your monotone voice etc and isn't attracted to you.

There's a part of me that wonders if I got a book deal because I always believed I would and that, by believing so strongly, it was attracted to me. Then I think, "What a load of tosh. I worked bloody hard to get a book deal, it didn't just swoop out of the air and land in my lap because I'd been dreaming about it."

But yes, getting back on topic. I think it's very wrong, on so many levels, to suggest that people bring about the negative events that happen to them. So all those people with terrible illnesses subconsciously brought it upon themselves did they? *shakes head*

Cathy said...

Yes, it is a shame that the book had to include the negative stuff, which I find upsetting too. The positive thinking parts aren't bad, certainly I can't imagine them harming anyone.

Calistro, the book deal was probably a bit of both, hard work and the Law of Attraction!